While there are now scientific awards with larger monetary prizes, there is no prize so universally and immediately recognized as a sign of prestige. The 2018 season kicked off on Monday with the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, which this year honors two researchers for their work on cancer therapy. James P. Allison, 70, born in Alice, Texas, and now affiliated with the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy in San Francisco, splits the prize with Tasuku Honjo, 76, a professor at Kyoto University in Japan. Their joint prize includes 9,000,000 Swedish Krona, which is a bit more than $1,000,000 USD. In the 1990s, Allison and Honjo did separate but parallel research on the use of the human immune system to fight cancer.
The Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine has been awarded to scientists who discovered how cancer can be treated by targeting the immune system. Cancer cells feature mutations that mean they can be recognised by our immune systems as foreign. But immune reactions against cancer are usually very weak. James Allison and Tasuku Honjo, working separately, discovered proteins that act as a brake on the immune system. They later found that that releasing these brakes would allow the immune system to attack cancer cells.
Two immunologists, James Allison from the University of Texas Austin and Tasuku Honjo from Kyoto University, have won the 2018 Nobel Medicine Prize for research that has revolutionised the treatment of cancer. The pair were honoured'for their discovery of cancer therapy by inhibition of negative immune regulation,' the Nobel Assembly said. Immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy targets proteins made by some immune system cells, as well as some cancer cells. The proteins can stop the body's natural defences from killing cancer cells. The therapy is designed to remove this protein'brake' and allow the immune system to more quickly get to work fighting the cancer.
STOCKHOLM – Japanese scientist Tasuku Honjo was awarded on Monday this year's Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine, for his discovery of a protein that contributed to the development of an immunotherapeutic drug against cancer. Honjo, a 76-year-old professor at Kyoto University, won the prize with U.S. national James Allison, the Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institute said. Honjo opened a pathway for a new cancer treatment by discovering the PD-1 protein, which is responsible for suppressing immune response. "I'm very honored and pleased to receive the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine," Honjo told a news conference following the announcement. His method of treating cancer -- by controlling the protein's function to suppress immunity -- led to the development of Nivolumab, a drug marketed as Opdivo and used against lung cancer and melanoma.
YOKOHAMA - As the risk of cancer increases among the country's aging population, immunologist Tasuku Honjo is pinning his hopes on cancer treatments that shift the approach from traditional methods directly targeting cancer cells to ones that stimulate the body's immune system to fight the disease. Nobel laureate Honjo, 77, believes his research can help bring about a cure -- or at least turn cancer into a nonfatal chronic disease -- but the jury is still out on whether immunotherapy can become a first-line treatment option. "Certain types of cancer patients are finally being cured thanks to immunotherapy. So I hope the percentage of such cases will steadily increase along with improvement (in the treatment)," Honjo said in a recent interview. "Even if tumors are not completely eliminated, (people can survive) as long as cancer is kept in check at a level where people can coexist with the disease," he said on the sidelines of an event in Yokohama arranged by Nobel Media in collaboration with the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.